By Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, CWS, FACCWS
Wound irrigation, when performed properly, can enhance wound healing. It is not as simple as pouring normal saline over a wound prior to dressing it – it must be performed properly in order to get the most out of this frequently misunderstood intervention.
Wound irrigation involves the use of fluid to remove:
The purpose of wound irrigation is to assist with the maintenance of a moist wound environment, facilitate debridement and boost wound healing.
All wounds can (and should) be irrigated. Gentle irrigation is the treatment of choice for healing granular wounds, along with bandaging to protect the wound bed.
Irrigation should not be performed in wounds that are actively bleeding heavily, as irrigation may dislodge any clots that are forming.
The following are some points to keep in mind regarding wound irrigation:
To perform wound irrigation:
You should be careful to allow the solution to flow from the cleanest to the dirtiest area of the wound. Do not force irrigant solution into any wound pockets i.e. areas of tunneling.
Wound irrigation is easy to perform, quick, inexpensive and effective. Wound irrigation can be performed almost anywhere (any setting) on any part of the body. Patients may be taught to perform wound irrigation at home.
Wound irrigation is messy. Linens and clothing may be soiled if care is not taken to protect them. Concern regarding soiling of clothing or furniture may lead to use of insufficient amounts of irrigant.
Wound irrigation is a common task performed by wound care clinicians. It is done prior to dressing changes and can facilitate healing and prevent infection.
Meyers B. Wound Management: Principles and Practice. 2nd edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall; 2008.
Owens B, White D, Wenke J. Comparison of irrigation solutions and devices in a contaminated musculoskeletal wound survival model. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. 2009;91(1):92-98.
About The Author
Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, CWS, FACCWS is a Certified Wound Therapist and enterostomal therapist, founder and president of WoundEducators.com, and advocate of incorporating digital and computer technology into the field of wound care.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, HMP Global, its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.